The Force Women made a three and a half hour drive over the mountains to Wenatchee on Sunday. The drive is always a difficult part of the equation when it comes to a long road game but the Force women would have two more major obstacles to overcome. The first being 90 degree temperatures at kickoff and the second being a limited roster of only 12 players available for the trip.
With the temperature and the numbers available the message from coach John Bennett during pregame was clear, "we have to score early and make them chase the game. Take advantage of every opportunity to catch your breath and recover and play simple and smart and together."
The messge was heard loud and clear by the ladies who went on the offensive early and often. Chances by Yasmin Escobar, Rhiannon Dowling and Alyssa Grey early on kept NCWA on their heels at the beginning of the game. In the 22nd minute, the breakthrough finally came. Grey chasing a ball into the corner and lashing a low cross that avoided the keeper and found an onrushing Emily Wilkins for the first goal. We didn't have long to wait for goal number 2 as Grey again was provider to Wilkins who smashed a shot that the keeper just couldn't hold on to and it trickled over the line. The half would end 2-0 with Ali Campigotto getting 2 saves on the half.
The second half brought about a forced tactic change due to the heat and exhaustion of his players. The Force would have to concede a little more of the possession and counter attack when they had the energy to do so. The focus was on keeping the clean sheet. Ali Campigotto was the hero of the second half. While Wilkins and Grey kept the NCWA defense honest, Campigotto made save after save on the other end. 7 saves in the half, 3 one on ones, fearless in diving at the feet of attackers to smother the ball and most of all, a calming presence with her feet. Every time the ball came to her, she would wait until an NCWA attacker would come to her before calmly picking out an easy pass. This was invaluable in helping the women to see out the scoreline.
On the other end of the field, it was the tireless work rate of Wilkins and Grey that kept creating chances. Were it not for fatigue, Grey had 2 chances that brought out the best in the NCWA keeper and Wilkins missed a hat trick by inches watching a shot fly just over the bar.
With two goals on the game, Emily Wilkins was your White Claw Hard Seltzer Woman of the Match. Special thanks to Ms. Dowling for the sponsor plug. ;)
The Force women will now take on Capital FC Atletica this Saturday who sit in second in the league table with an undefeated record through 4 games. Saturday's game is our Force Women's Supporter's game, with a kickoff at 3pm and while you have missed the deadline to get the discount on the supporter's shirts, we will have a few for sale at the game.